Killer Is Dead Review – Stealing Glances, Slashing Baddies
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Dev: Grasshopper
Genre: Hack & Slash
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
Release Date: 30/08/13

Killer Is Dead Review – Stealing Glances, Slashing Baddies

Site Score
7.0
Good: Controls are tight enough to let you do what you want to do
Bad: Screen tearing was all over the joint
User Score
5.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Killer Is Dead is the tenth game since 2010 to have the Grasshopper Manufacture name attached to it. Suda51’s brand of weirdness has been strangely prolific, ranging from demon hunting Shadows of the Damned to… er, zombie hunting Lollipop Chainsaw. Tonight, you’re hunting ‘supernatural criminals’.

Despite being a brand new title, Killer Is Dead plays like a continuation of previous games from Grasshopper. Namely, Lollipop Chainsaw and No More Heroes – they are all hack and slash action games with upgrades, costumes and a weird sense of humour. While there’s not a house style, there is a trademark flourish to Grasshopper games – like you would expect with Tim Burton movies. Except with less Johnny Depp.

killer is dead squareToday’s protagonist of choice is Mondo Zappa, the latest employee with a government agency who kill people on demand of various clients – for a clean up fee. Which is naturally high, as you tend to fight your way through “Wires” – fodder enemies that come in various shapes and sizes – before getting to your mark. The episodes are fairly stand alone, but a loose story thread connects Mondo to one antagonist. Being disjointed allows you to globe-trot to various locales and see wildly different looks to the levels. A personal favourite was the Japanese gardens, although you also see your fair share of boring buildings.

The controls feel tighter than No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw ever did, and I was easily able to rack up combos of 100+ hits. Dodge moves were very snappy, and unlocking counters and new moves opened up more possibility in combat. But you’re never encouraged to experiment, and I often fell back to the “perform a dodge and hammer on X” move that I perfected. Something like Devil May Cry’s “Style Ranking” would be great to have here. The camera is also pretty dreadful, often missing enemies hitting me from behind, while others were hard to actually see against the scenery. Previous Grasshopper games felt like style over substance, but this game brings it on the controls in a way that feels right.

killer is dead 3By killing enemies, you restock your health and “BLOOD” meters, and bigger combos means bigger rewards. BLOOD is needed for a variety of moves, such as using your sub weapons and performing finishing moves for some bigger enemies. Sometimes I found myself out of BLOOD when I desperately needed it, but backing an enemy into a corner for a few moments managed to top it up enough for my purposes.

The more episodes you play, the more side missions you unlock that allow you to perform challenges on the same maps. These range from hunt the enemies, using a turret, switching on some switches, or keeping the number of enemies on a lift down as you try and reach the top floor. There’s also a SEXY NURSE called Scarlett who hides multiple times on each level, who tops up your BLOOD and unlocks challenges. They range from get a 50 hit combo to kill enemies using other enemies. Depending on how you play, some of these will be much easier than others. I managed to get AAA scores on a couple, while being completely incapable to complete others. Challenge Modes don’t particularly add new to the experience, but for the die hard fan, there’s certainly more ways to increase your combat skills

There is one unique side mission in Killer Is Dead, however. The “Mondo Girl” missions requires you to sit with a girl, and to steal glances at her when she looks away. Then, when you gain the appropriate amount of guts, you can offer her presents, purchased from the in-game gift store. Full up some arbitrary meter, and you are treated to a ‘romance’ sequence and a sub-weapon to use in the game. What is intended to be James Bond comes off like Gal Gun, and it made me feel sleazy in a way a game shouldn’t. It’s a shame you have to do these at least three times to unlock the various sub weapons, as they are otherwise pointless. killer is dead 2My initial thought would be to say Grasshopper should be ashamed for including such a misstep, but I doubt it was included as a calculated insult to feminism. But I could do without staring at girls.

I had a real weird time with Killer Is Dead. It controls better than Lollipop Chainsaw, but Grasshopper’s trademark weird feels in short supply. There’s more coherent hack n’ slashers out there, like Devil May Cry; and if you wanted to dive into the odd deep end of Suda51 games, then I’d recommend Shadows Of The Damned over this. But I did have a fairly enjoyable time with the game. It’s like one of those movies that isn’t quite a summer blockbuster, but it kills a few hours, raises a few smiles and leaves you zero desire to experience it again.

Killer Is Dead is stylish, action packed and provides nothing you haven’t seen before. There’s certainly better games out there, but it’s enjoyable enough to kill waves of wires and rack up big combos again and again.
- Dat art style bro

- One particular scene involving a train was a highlight comedy moment

- Controls are tight enough to let you do what you want to do

- Big combos!

- Screen tearing was all over the joint

- The camera is more a hindrance than an ally

- Gigolo mode is utterly pointless, and very creepy

In a world of sequels and unoriginal ideas, Grasshopper have put out lots of original titles in the last three years and that’s something to be admired. Killer Is Dead iterates on controls and gameplay, but the story is mostly snooze city. The creepy Gigolo mode is a blight on what is otherwise a just plain fine product, but there is fun to be had here.

Video Review

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David Martin


I once played in a band with a dude. He knew the guy who did the handclaps in Just Jack's "Starz In Their Eyes". My Bacon Number is 3. Also, video games.
Killer Is Dead Review - Stealing Glances, Slashing Baddies, 5.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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  1. Killer Is Dead – Review | DavoTron.com
    September 4, 2013, 4:21 pm

    […] Originally posted on The Game Jar. […]

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KILLER IS DEAD Trailer – English Voice

KILLER IS DEAD Trailer – English Voice

Ready for an action game with unique style that you won’t find anywhere else? Deep Silver Europe is proud to present Suda51′s next bombastic thrill ride, Killer is Dead, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture. In Killer is Dead, gamers will slice, shoot, and seduce as Mondo Zappa, an executioner contracted to... Read More »

killer is dead

KILLER IS DEAD – Trailer

Ready for an action game with unique style that you won’t find anywhere else? Deep Silver Europe is proud to present Suda51′s next bombastic thrill ride, Killer is Dead, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture. In Killer is Dead, gamers will slice, shoot, and seduce as Mondo Zappa, an executioner contracted to... Read More »